Sony ushers in the new Vaio P, now with trackpad and accelerometer
Clocks must work at a different pace in Japan; either that or Sony just couldn't stand to wait another day to introduce its latest entry in the teeny-tiny computer arena because the new Vaio P series is here, and it's as colorful as we were led to believe. Just barely a few hours after Jenn posted about a Tuesday release, Sony got a jump on the festivities, and so far the new P is looking very sweet indeed.
The first thing you'll notice is the switch to brighter colors, six in all, which follows in the footsteps of the much larger Vaio E series. Besides the paint job, the specs inside remain very similar to the current P, with processor choices such as an Atom Z520 (1.6GHz) or Z550 (2.0GHz), but now there is also the all-new Z560 (2.13GHz) to help speed things along. RAM remains at 2GB, the SSD storage ranges from 64GB to 256GB, and the screen is still a non-touch, 8-inch 1600×768 LED-backlit affair. WiMAX will be optional, although it remains to be seen if this will make it to the US model since the same feature never made it over last time.
Follow past the break for some more up-close peeks at the newest member of the Sony Vaio family, and if the urge hits to enjoy some Skittles, it's completely understandable.
Since the new P series needs a little something extra to help separate it from its aging sibling, Sony has added an optical trackpad at the bottom right corner of the screen bezel, along with two mouse buttons on the opposite side, for easier two-handed use on the move. The original trackpoint and mouse buttons remain in their usual positions for more traditional desk work. But extra pointing options alone don't tell the whole story, because now there is also an accelerometer that can be used to switch seamlessly from landscape to portrait view, instead of having to manually change the orientation.
In addition, the accelerometer can be used as a tilt control for navigating back and forth through web pages, as well as flipping through pictures. An ambient light sensor and a quick-change resolution button are now present too, so nighttime book reading can be much easier on the eyes by dimming the screen and enlarging text. Battery life may have improved slightly to 3 hours for the standard battery and 5 hours for the extended battery, with real-life usage probably falling a bit short of those numbers.
US pricing is unknown right now, but with Sony being chided over the original Vaio P pricing, I wouldn't look for them to make the same mistake again, at least here in the States. We should find out soon enough, as the new units are set to ship next month in Japan, with a US release hopefully not too long after.[UPDATE] The official starting price will be $800 in the US, according to Engadget, and will include the base Z530 processor. This puts the new Vaio P at $100 less than the current model, and $200 less than the original shipping base model, which had a slow hard drive instead of the now-standard SSD. Smart move on Sony's part, the new pricing should help these things fly off the shelves a little easier than before. The new model will be available for pre-sale sometime today, but currently the link still goes to last year's version.
:: Visit the Vaio P forum to connect with other owners and potential buyers, share tips, and troubleshoot. ::[Sony Japan | Sony "Coming Out" Teaser Page]